Arizona immigration ruling paves provision in Ga. law

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:


On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a key component of Arizona's immigration law, paving the way for a key provision in Georgia's law.

While news has some claiming victory, others said they're living in fear.
Portions of Georgia's immigration law have been on hold while legal challenges played out in court.

"It's a good ruling for Georgia," said Rep. Matt Ramsey (R, Peachtree City).

Ramsey said the Supreme Court ruling is a boost to Georgia's immigration law,
currently stuck on-hold

"(It) really vindicates the hours and hours we spent drafting a law to ensure it passed constitutional muster," he said.

Ramsey authored the law which among other things allows police to check the immigration status of the suspects they detain. The Supreme Court upheld a similar provision in Arizona's law, which could pave the way for enforcement here.

Ramsey said it's an important tool for police.

But Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh found migrant workers who said the law does nothing to solve the real problems.

"We have no Social Security. Its why no (one is) working in the company, because we can't," said worker D.L. Mendez.

Mendez said he came to Gwinnett County from Guatemala 15 years ago and has been here without papers ever since.

He told Kavanaugh in Spanish, that the Hispanic community needs to step out of the shadows in come into the light. He said that won't happen without comprehensive reform.

While that has to come from the federal level, Mendez believes Georgia's immigration law criminalizes those who came for a better life.

"As a defense attorney, it creates concern," said criminal defense attorney Vanessa Kosky.

Kosky fears if police in Georgia are allowed to check the immigration status of the people they detain, it will lead to racial profiling and discrimination.

"And, that individuals will be stopped for minor offenses and thus subjected to extra scrutiny."

Kosky showed us the hundreds of cases in which she says people get caught up in the immigration system over traffic offenses. She said her case load will continue to explode if this law is implemented.

"It is very curious when you have an epidemic of cases where it is almost always a malfunctioning light," she said.

Georgia's law is on hold in 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

It's up to the court now to decide how to move forward now that the Supreme Court has ruled.

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